Flash mob violence, innocent people persecuted and imprisoned, the cruel beating of those who have the courage to speak up against lies, a sudden earthquake and the terrifying aftermath...
These are all events we read about in the daily news. But all these things also happened long ago - 2,000 or so years ago - and we have a detailed record of it all in Acts 16, in God's Word, The Bible.
John Newton wrote a glorious hymn poem on the passage in Acts 16 entitled, "THE TREMBLING JAILER". I chose his poem purposefully and set it to music, hoping that the LORD will enable me to tell you that God is still saving sinners each and every day by His marvelous grace. Here is my new melody for Mr. Newton's wonderful sacred poem - The Olney Hymnal of 1779, No. 123 - Book I. Oh, how I pray that the LORD will seal it to your heart!
The setting is the pagan city of Philippi in the years following the death, resurrection and ascension of the LORD Jesus Christ. The good news of the Gospel is now moving out of Jerusalem and Judea into Samaria and ultimately, into the uttermost parts of the earth. The Spirit of Christ prophesied that this would happen in Joel 2, and the prophesy came to pass after Christ went to be with the Father. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon all believers, giving each one the will, power, gifts and ability to testify of God's truth.
The Spirit of Christ sent Paul and Silas to Philippi to preach the wonders of God's Sovereign Grace in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. A commotion ensued, as the truth of God's Word will always offend and enrage the unregenerate. Paul and Silas were arrested, brutally beaten and thrown into the deepest, darkest cell in the local prison. What was their charge? They preached the Gospel without compromise and without apology. There was a riot against them in a depraved city where men and women made a living from the idolatry of false religion - another familiar headline from today's media reports!
At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang the Gospel message with joy and thanksgiving, though they were in chains and many stripes had been laid upon them. As the jailer and the prisoners heard the joyful sound, the LORD made the earth to quake. Suddenly, the iron bars flew open and all the prisoners were set free...of their physical shackles...and only for a time. The Bible does not mention one prisoner setting flight from the jail and yet, one man was "set free". One man did "escape".
It's true that many, many people heard the Gospel message that night, but only ONE MAN man cried out, "What must I do to be saved?" The jailer himself, who was not even bound by a prisoner's shackles, was indeed set free - free from sin and death forevermore! How? He was set free in his soul existence! That very night, by a great miracle of God's gracious providence to his elect soul, the jailer heard the Living Word and believed unto eternal life. Thus, it was this elect soul's appointed hour to be set free from his spiritual bondage, from death to everlasting life by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved Him and gave Himself for him.
Again and again, on every page of Holy Scripture, we are taught that God is the One Who saves His people from their sins. Isn't that exactly what the LORD declares in Matthew 1:18-21?
I hope you enjoy my new melody for John Newton's sacred poem, "The Trembling Jailer - A Believer, Free From Care". May the LORD richly bless you, whoever you are, as you find yourself seeking Him - not in your own strength or understanding - but as God allows and affords, in His Spirit and by the truth of His Living Word to your soul.
Interested in this vital subject? Want to know more? The LORD is prospering the preaching of His Word in this dark hour! Here is one of His faithful servants, Don Fortner of Grace Baptist Church in Danville, KY, preaching on the subject of God's electing love: http://www.sermonaudio.com/...